Deconstructing: AddressHunter

by Chris F

AddressHunter is the last of the gamified apps that I looked to cover and review as part of my dissertation research, when I started, a little over 2 months ago. Let’s see if the last on the list will rise up to the expectations or sinks under the weight of its own ambition.

AddressHunter

I’d like to start by saying that this is the first game that I’ve reviewed that is done by a German-Romanian company called Skobbler, which seem to have invested quite a bit of time and resources in creating quality assurance tools such as this one and MapDust, a bug-reporting website.

AddressHunter is a treasure hunt game with RPG elements. From the beginning, you’re shown your character, with your current experience and how much more you need to advance to the next level, alongside your avatar.

AddressHunter

You currently only have the option to start a multiplayer game or check out the help screen. While over-explained, the Help screen is quite helpful, taking you step by step, with pictures, through how to start, organize, play and end a game.

The purpose of the game is to hunt for addresses in a given area. Once you’ve found an address, you need to tak a picture of the number and submit it as found. The player with the most addreses found at the end of the game wins. Experience-wise, you get 1 point for each address found and a I believe your points get doubled if you win, but I couldn’t find for sure from their documentation. At the beginning of the game, you get to set the radius of the area in which you’ll be hunting for addresses, as well as the time limit and the number of addresses that need hunting.

There are clear game elements, and I like the initiative. It would’ve been nice if they actually mantained the game or at least made it open-source, for others to take it up themselves and improve on it.

However, it seems that for every thing that I enjoy about AddressHunter, there’s one thing that I believe they could’ve done better. I like that you have an avatar, but why can’t you change it? It only represents your level. I like that it gives you a level progression, but that only counts for a fancier avatar. Likewise, the number of points for each level-up doesn’t seem tested. It looks like it would take about 1000 matches to be able to get to the cartographer title.

AddressHunter

AddressHunter

AddressHunter

The image at the beginning of the article is the landing page for the game, and from the start it asks you to login with your OSM credntials. That’s not particularly very good, from my point of view, because it turns away everyone who does not have an OSM affiliation. Kort, for example, allowed you to log in with Facebook. Another thing that they could’ve done in order to improve on the first-play experience and help the onboarding experience is that they don’t say anything about the game itself, when they could’ve just copy-pasted the one-liner from the help page: “AddressHunter – gather as much validated addresses as possible to win experience points and become a cartographer.” That’s the perfect one-liner for the game, looking like whoever wrote this did their game design homework.

I believe that this is the most frustrating thing about AddressHunter: it looks like there was some work behind it, it looks like they had an actual game designer behind this game, but then they fired him just after they launched it and nobody was there to balance it and add extra content, maybe even listen to player feedback.

This game is a good effort, but unfortunately, it wasn’t sustained.

Chris F.

P.S.: The “About” button on the landing page only shows the copyright data and states that this game is version 0.1 since 2011.

Advertisements